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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Procol Harum - WPLJ Live

Jill-edmo1WPLJ became in late 1970, a '100% live free form' rock format station.
By September 1971 they had developed into the very first AOR (adult orientated rock) station in the USA.The station would play the music of artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, and The Allman Brothers. The station would also play more 'popular' songs from artists such as James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Carly Simon. All in all, and compared to the 'AOR format' in later years, at least the music was new or relatively new back then, and throughout the 1970's WPLJ was one of the most successful stations on the planet!
Procol Harum sat comfortably in WPLJ's 'free form' rock format, back in April 1971. Having moved on from the psychedelic pop music phase that was 1967's 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', Procol Harum were a well respected band, whose quite unique sound, made them difficult to pigeon hole into a specific genre.
'A Salty Dog' remains a personal favorite of mine, both the album and the single release.
Procol Harum produced a unique sound that emphasized Gary Brooker's melancholy vocal style and an evocative mix of his eclectic piano, Matthew Fisher's elegant church-like organ, B.J Wilson's dramatic drumming and Robin Trower's searing guitar, with frequent black humour and a penchant for experimentation. Musically from the late sixties until 1971, Procol Harum was split between Robin Trower's guitar driven blues rock style and Gary Brooker's and Matthew Fisher's structured classical rock sound.
The group often combined the two into a dynamic fusion, but by mid 1971 the isparities in style became too great; the end of an era was marked for Procol Harum, with the release of their fifth album Broken Barricades, and subsequent departure of Robin Trower to form his own power trio band.
All of which helps understand why this particular bootleg is often known as 'Robin's Last Stand'. Recorded live with an audience by WPLJ this is Procol Harum at WPLJ Radio Studios, New York, NY, on April 12th 1971. The show was broadcast on FM stereo.

Line up was :
Gary Brooker : piano, vocals – Keith Reid : words (organ) – BJ Wilson : drums – Chris Copping : bass, organ – Robin Trower : guitar, bass

01. Memorial Drive
02. Still There'll be more
03. Nothing that I didn't know
04. Simple Sister
05. Luskus Delph
Procol Harum - WPLJ Live 197106. Shine On Brightly
07. Whaling Stories
08. Broken Barricades
09. Juicy John Pink
10. A Salty Dog
11. Whisky Train
12. Power Failure 

LOCATION / VENUENew York  DATE12–04–1971


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